Born a Communicator

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We are not given a good life or a bad life. We are given life. And it’s up to you to make it good or bad.

Often, people that criticize your life are usually the same people that don’t know the price you paid to get where you are today.

They say we live at a time when those in our life focus more on the things we fail to do and the little imperfections that we may have. Today, even the ones we love will be quick to point out when we fail to call or respond to a text. “Blue texts sasa huh!”

Let’s face it; the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. To live a creative life, Nyach once told me that we must lose our fear of being wrong. Yes! I know what you are thinking. Who is Nyach? What does he look like? Is he tall, dark or even handsome? If I personally had an answer to such kind of imagination, this story would make no sense beyond this point. But like you, I have grown up learning to surround myself with people who talk about visions and ideas, not about other people.

Am enjoying a cup of coffee one fine afternoon at my favorite restaurant, Kilimanjaro lavish, when this well-built guy walks in and takes a sit at the other side of the table. He is accompanied by a little princess. A girl I would look at and call pretty twice. She carried a secret charm that would make you smile whenever she blinked. She was the kind of girl who looks down when you stare at her for a little too long and turns away if you catch her looking. The kind of girl you expect to laugh at all your jokes, funny or not funny. One who would love you with every inch of flesh inside her.

“White coffee and banana pancakes.” The guy said to the waitress.

My eyes were still focused on the lady, my heart now tempted to pump more blood to my brain and trigger that nerve that makes the mouth speak.

“Hi bro, your friend is pretty!” the words popped out of my mouth.

“Thanks bro!” he responded with a sharp baritone voice. “She is my wife, Maureen!”

Boom! It hit me that I had to behave (now that she was married). That she was taken and like I have been waiting for Jesus, I have to be a bit more patient for today was not my day.

“Hi Maureen. I am Mbai” I said with my usual calmness.

“Nice meeting you Mbai.” She responded. Her voice was soft. The kind of soft that could make you start singing kumbaya.. my lord… kumbaya!

“You are Mbai?” Asked the guy. “The guy who writes about digital relationships?”

“Yes I am.” I responded. I would have agreed even if I wasn’t that Mbai.

“Aaah! Nice meeting you bro. I am Nyach.” He said. “@Nyacharo_ from Twitter.”

Yess Nyach! I know you. I actually do follow you.”  I said.

Nyach, Maureen and I have become friends ever since.

Over time, Nyach has grown to be a personal inspiration to me. While I focus on telling stories, (my stories and stories from the people I come across), Nyach is evolving as a communicator.

Having discovered his poetic and rap abilities while at Daystar University, he is today able to create digital strategies and formulate social media campaigns aimed at inspiring and creating an impact among young people. He has a special ability to merge art and digital platforms, hence communicating situations in a manner that creates an impact.

“I was not financially gifted while in campus.” He says. “So over lunch hour, I would eat from the internet. I spent most of my time in the cyber watching YouTube videos and reading articles. I joined Twitter and got attached to the fact that I would follow live activities happening around me. Twitter became my lunch-hour meal.” Nyach says.

I have a weird story of how I personally created my first Twitter account, how I forgot the password days after and how I generally find the platform hard to use. I prefer Facebook where all I have to do is scroll through friends posts linking the ones I find interesting. I also love Instagram, but if we talk data usage, I finding 1000 plus reasons to stick to Facebook. I have read stories of people making money from Twitter so when Nyach tells me that he had only about 500 followers when he made his first Ksh. 1000 from Twitter, I start to imagine how much he makes from his current global audience. But like you would say, “muhimu ni uhai!”

Ever heard about people eating life with a big spoon and wondered how they do that? Poetry  and theater plays make my two big spoons. Spoken work and live musicals especially at Alliance Francaise is a personal source of joy. I love watching and listening to people share stories. Their personal stories, both the sad ones and those that talk about success and victory. So when I first asked Nyach what he does besides Twitter and mentioned that he is among the people behind Fatuma’s Voice and Slum Africa, I certainly got the idea that the guy I was a friend to is no normal communicator. There is just something unique about him.

Besides being part of the Google Africa team that recently travelled to Mozambique, Nyach was vital to FIDA staff training on social media as an advocacy tool.

We read and hear a lot about digital driving the market and communications today but what we fail to read is the fact that we must and should use social media platforms to empower young people. Nyach says that we should be open to joining networks that make us grow, both as groups but especially as individuals.

He tells me how he personally hates failure and how he doesn’t take it lightly whenever he is the reason things fail to work. “There is no law between failure and I.”

God told Moses to use what was in his hand. Today, we do not have a Moses with a rod in his hand. What we have is young people with social media tools. Whether you use such to inspire, nature, mold your peers or simply use digital platforms to rant and complain, the tool and the choice are in your hands.

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